Overcoming fears, defying the odds, challenging myself, learning to trust, making new friends, and discovering myself; this journey I took is filled with astounding memories and incredible stories.
So, do check out my previous post(s) on this Thailand travel series listed below.
#1 The Road Not Taken #2 A Break To Our Expectations…
Oblivious to the experience in store for us, we set out on midnight stroll into the city of joy, Kolkata. As one last attempt, I called my friend Saumy, (who lived in Kolkata for a couple of years) to check if there was a likelihood to find food at that late hour in the city. As I fretted, he told us that it was highly unlikely to locate an open food outlet during those odd hours and we might have to go to the outskirts of the city to find one! So, the prospect of looking for an open food outlet was off the charts. I was angry at my fate and began feeling dejected about how the trip started for us. While my brain was accusing my heart, Ashok struck a conversation with the cab driver and gave him an insight of what we had in mind.
The cab driver turned out to be one of the sweetest people I have met. He was patient throughout and even gave us a few suggestions on which route to take to cover most of the places we wished to see. Evidently, nothing was open at that time, but we still wanted to witness what Kolkata had to offer, no matter if that was gallivanting on empty roads! It was over 15 minutes that we started from the airport, and I was literally waiting for a miraculous outcome from the time spent in Kolkata even though I didn’t believe in one.
As a blessing, something did happen, and it left us bedazzled!
Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to be in a situation similar to Rebecca, The Girl In The Green Scarf! Rebecca feels awestruck after seeing the beautiful green scarf and leaves no stone unturned to own that. So was I, but in a different sense. Without a blink, I was gazing at those glittering streets with my mouth wide open in awe!
I have heard a lot about how beautiful and dazzling the city is, but never expected to see it literally meeting the description! Still not recovering from the awestruck effect, we asked the driver, ‘What is the name of the area?’, to which he replied ‘Park Street.’
‘I would trade anything to witness this beautiful view again!’were my immediate thoughts.
Just look at that! Isn’t it a treat to eyes?
I for one, couldn’t resist to just sit in the car; we pulled over near the street and stood on the road side to enjoy the view! Later, the madness of having a picture clicked while sitting on an empty road followed along. This crazy idea was on my bucket list since long, and I finally struck it off my list in Kolkata!
It was 1:30 AM by the time we got back into the car to proceed with our adventure into the streets of Kolkata. Though the experience was trivial, my spirits were lifted by then, and my heart was overjoyed by the sight of the marvellous night view of the streets. As we moved on, we found out that the whole city was lit up with colourful, festive lights. The driver later informed us that the city was decorated for Christmas and new year eve and even though it was past December and almost the end of January, the decorations were not taken down.
‘All of this is for you to witness it Kheer’my gratified-self whispered to me.
As we moved on, suddenly something I saw excited me, and with all that excitement reciprocating in my actions, I pulled the sleeve of Ashok’s hoodie and enthusiastically pointed at a board which read ‘St. Xavier’s College.’
‘Hey, look at that; Xavier’s’ I said all excited. To which Ashok gave me a confused look.
‘Remember Xavier Institute?’ I said. Still No reaction from Ashok!
‘Professor Charles Xavier from X-Men?’ I said with increased excitement to remind Ashok.
Even if I take a wild guess today, I wouldn’t have thought of experiencing my Fan-Girl moment of X-men in that fashion. As this was happening, the cab driver also gave me a confused look. I think he felt like I never saw a college before!
Next up was the magnificent Victoria Memorial. Yet again, even though we saw it from outside, the view was incredible. It was shining in the dark.
The next stop came as a surprise to us. The driver took the liberty of showing us this spot. It was ‘Eden gardens!’. Huge posters of Jhulan Goswami, Sourav Ganguly aka Dada, Kapil Dev, Rahul Dravid, Laxman and Tendulkar at the entrance of the Eden Gardens were a treat to watch. The colourful focus lights added an extra-cool effect to the overall look!
After that, we were on the way to see my favourite place on our list and the pride of Kolkata, ‘Howrah Bridge.’ If I remember it correctly, I was 10 years old when my grandpa first told me about the uniqueness of Howrah Bridge. It is, in fact, the balanced cantilever form of bridge, which means there are no bolts and nuts like in the other bridges built so far. That detail itself fascinated me to see the magnificent bridge. Though we took a ride on the Howrah bridge, the driver told us that we wouldn’t be able to stop on the bridge as it was restricted. I was a bit taken aback to hear this, but still, I was happy to see it so I didn’t let that bother me and we moved ahead to the next place the driver suggested.
It was Vidyasagar Setu. At first, I did not know anything about it, but as soon as we got down from the car to walk on the bridge, I felt that something was different about that bridge. After a couple seconds of experiencing a gentle swing effect I figured out what that is. At this point of time, I was literally shouting with excitement telling Ashok that the bridge is a cable-stayed bridge! Later on, when I took the aid of the internet to find out more about it, many exciting facts came to light like, Vidyasagar Setu is the longest cable-stayed bridge in India and one of the longest in Asia! An engineering marvel indeed.
I was officially charged up after witnessing those two fabulous structures. I silently sighed, ‘That is more than enough! This experience is more than what I anticipated!’
Hold on! It did not end there. There is a lot more to the fantastic night spent at Kolkata. How can I not tell you about the first Tram I ever saw? How about the dead gorgeous nightshades of Peeli-taxi and last but not the least, the quirky meet with an unusual man who was possibly drunk, gave his business card to Ashok and asked him to contact for an assignment thinking that he was a Professional Model! Many funny and memorable episodes are fresh in our memory till date.
Each place we visited in Kolkata and the experience we had there moulded into a story. We couldn’t have asked for anything better! We bundled up all the joy and returned to the airport. After a couple of hours of waiting, we finally boarded the plane and took off to Bangkok.
But, that’s another story for another time!
Do you want to hear more about this trip? Then, just watch out for the next part! Until then, the writer is signing off with the same excitement!
I learned a lot on that day; like, not to quit on myself and realised the importance of gratitude in life. Today, as I write about this travel experience and Gratitude, it reminds me of an excellent post written by a person who I look up to and adore; Corinne. Do read that post if you can.
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My impression of Kolkatta has completely changed after reading your post. Beautifully penned and the photos weave in an interesting story. Thank you for bringing this post to us. Keep writing. #MyFriendAlexa #MayuraReads
Thanks for taking us on a night tour of city of joy
Wow! Interesting post and lovely pictures. Actually gives you another perspective of the city!
Great pictures… especially without the crowds which is what I always associate with that city. I went there during Durga Puja time… so it was awe-inspiring but oh-so-crowded.
Very Nice coverage through pen and camera.
This is an amazing post really enjoyed reading the post n photos
Lovely pics and a great ‘story’ to go with it. I’ve never been to Kolkata but have heard about how special Christmas is there both from my parents and from my husband. Must make a trip there!
PS: I’ve added your link.
I’ve come across the true Kolkata via this post. Never been there, but it’s always on my bucket list
It’s amazing how the city changes in the night. No traffic, no crowd. Just you and the long silent night. Absolutely enjoyed reading this post. I lived in Kolkata for some time… The food is incredible… Ohh how much I miss that!
I love your adventurous jaunt at night. And the pictures capture the moments with such audacious brilliance. Love the one of you guys plonked on the street. Hope I can do the same one day.
Interesting series Keerthi.